13 Oct 2017

Teaching: How To Roll in BJJ

Every so often I give my students a mini-lecture on the best practice when rolling. I feel it is important to remind everyone of the reasons why we roll and how best to do it.

In short, I think you get the best out of your limited time sparring by aiming for a specific goal. It could be a mini goal like say wanting to hit an armbar from the closed guard. Or it could be a wider aim, for example, trying to play a pressure style passing game or other more concept focused goal. Whatever the aim, having some sort of focus will be a much more effective use of your time.

A lot of rolls have a fair amount of wasted time however. Tying your belt, tucking your gi together, re-tying your hair, chatting, stalling, refusing to engage, running away, wiping away your sweat etc etc. All these things happen and easily avoided or ignored. One could easily waste 2 or 3 minutes of a five minute rolling bout not actually rolling. That's poor time management.

For me, the most important part of any roll is the very first hand slap and fist bump. This gesture is not merely a greeting or old tradition. I view it as an agreement, an understanding...that I and my partner will roll with the aim of trying our very best but without hurting each other.

Often you'll see more experienced, equally matched grapplers engaged in a to and fro sparring match, each smoothly countering and defending and attacking one another with great fluency. This isn't actually hard to do, it just takes a little practice and mat time. Sparring is a skill one cultivates over time, much like any other part of jiu jitsu training. In the video above, I narrate as I go along. The aim is to reveal my thinking and plans of action to observer so they can see how I deal with problems and opportunities mid roll.

Anyway, these are my own personal thoughts. Another instructor may feel differently. That's perfectly fine, jiu jitsu is a huge entity and can happily accomodate all sorts of methodology when it comes to training and teaching.

Thanks for watching!


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Michael Burpoe said...

Loved the article! As always, I enjoy your insight.


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